Who profits from weddings?
June 30, 2015 10:47 AM   Subscribe

If I'm expecting the traditional American wedding (registry, rehearsal dinner, lavish ceremony, reception) industry to expand over the next few years, where would I invest my money? My experience was mostly with local people, but I am sure there is some behemoth out there who's bread and butter is based on that style of people getting married.
posted by Tell Me No Lies to Work & Money (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Travel and hospitality companies that specialize in honeymoon vacations.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:54 AM on June 30, 2015

My guess would be: Hotel chains and food wholesalers.

They seem to be the only thing on the list that benefit from larger sized/more elaborate gatherings and don't have a significant newer competition. Macy's has competition from online registries that allow you to shop anywhere, and although the Marriott has competition for lodging from airbnb, at the volume of a larger fancier wedding, the majority of guests will stay in some kind of hotel designed for larger hotels and everyone will be fed by the hotel banquet room.
posted by vunder at 10:59 AM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The obvious public company is XO Group (XOXO), which owns The Knot. This is not a recommendation.
posted by mullacc at 11:04 AM on June 30, 2015 [7 favorites]

If there are all-inclusive wedding-in-a-box services, that's where I'd put my money. Folks these days are used to going to a website, clicking a bunch of options or working through a wizard, and paying for it all at once; the wedding coordinator who capitalizes on that will be gold, I think.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:14 AM on June 30, 2015 [4 favorites]

Seconding mullacc.
posted by xbonesgt at 11:19 AM on June 30, 2015

Best answer: It's still a very local-vendor game for the most part, but David's Bridal is probably the national chain making the most money specifically off weddings. The tux rental business is a little more diversified, but Men's Wearhouse is one of the bigger chains doing it right now (and that's kind of a big deal if you have tux-wearing wedding party traveling from elsewhere, as you need a physical location near you, well ahead of the wedding, to get fitted and all that).
posted by Lyn Never at 11:28 AM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

There's a shitton of money to be made in quaint farmhouses. People loooove getting married at quaint farmhouses. They're just so...quaint.

So if some wannabe wedding tycoon had the money to purchase and rehab farm property, I think that could be pretty lucrative.

-a few acres of land in an area no more than 1.5 hours from a hub (a city of reasonable size with an airport)
-get rid of all the stinky animals
-build up some ground around a charming, picturesque tree where people would do their vows so that the guests don't have to wade in mud if it rained the day before
-rehab the barn/stable, including nice bathroom areas, a fine gravel outdoor area, plenty of electrical hookups, a prep kitchen, and a decent sized private suite room for bride prep
-lots of white picket fences, brightly colored barn doors, gratuitous use of tree stumps and coils of rope, you know the drill

My cousin had her wedding last year at a weddings-only farm, and that place did a great job of being a reasonably slick, modern place while still giving you all the feels of being somewhere...quaint and farmy. All of the kitsch, none of the realities of the outdoors. It's evil genius level wedding marketing. Cousin also rented a bunch of quaint shabby chic type furniture from them to stage little quaint "moments" around the wedding area, so that's another source of income. They're divorced now, woooo.

posted by phunniemee at 11:40 AM on June 30, 2015 [7 favorites]

If I'm expecting the traditional American wedding (registry, rehearsal dinner, lavish ceremony, reception) industry to expand over the next few years, where would I invest my money?
The cynic in me says "divorce lawyers" (not because any particular marriage is doomed to failure but because, historically, a certain proportion of them are..) but I can't figure out how you'd invest there..
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:47 AM on June 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Tiffany, Zale, Signet Jewelers and Blue Nile, all of which sell rings, haven't been mentioned yet. Ditto FTD and 1-800-Flowers.

(Not a recommendation, I do not hold positions in any of these companies, you'd be an idiot to take investment advice from me, etc.)
posted by box at 11:58 AM on June 30, 2015

Is Pinterest a publicly traded company yet?
posted by chaiminda at 12:08 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: After going to several bridal fairs recently, the only large companies there were David's Bridal, Men's Wearhouse, chain jewelry stores, vacation places like Club Med, and the local chain hotels.

And the majority of our spending is on photos, venue, and catering, all of which are very small vendors.
posted by smackfu at 12:12 PM on June 30, 2015

Maybe big, popular gift registry stores such as Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc. would be good picks. Those are run of the mill, but pretty popular in the midwest - larger cities and other areas of the country might have different stores as well as more high end outlets.
posted by 3fluffies at 12:24 PM on June 30, 2015

Bridal fairs are a great way to earn. Hosting them is one way. A friend has moved from teaching to making custom wedding centerpieces and commemorative tchotchkes and is finding business. He got a small CNC and a laser cutter and was in business.
posted by parmanparman at 12:41 PM on June 30, 2015

No IPO for Pinterest yet, but a lot of the links on there go to Etsy shops, and ETSY is public. Not sure it does enough wedding business though, relative to the overall volumes.
posted by smackfu at 1:01 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Basically, you'd do for weddings what has already been done for funerals: buy up a ton of venues (or take over the management of their rental spaces) and upsell add-ons while keeping the local name and color. One-off local to regional chain to megachain, small to large, quaint to chic, old to new, classic to avant-garde. Desanctified churches, old houses, cabins, art deco hotels, anything. Then I'd position myself firmly in the venue-rental business and choose preferred vendors (food, decoration, waitstaff, valet parking, photographer) and you've got sellable bundles. But it all should be centered around the venue.
posted by Mo Nickels at 2:12 PM on June 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

Sorry, I guess that was more of a business plan than a specific place to put your money.
posted by Mo Nickels at 2:14 PM on June 30, 2015

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